Some months ago, I answered a question on Quora: What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you. Here is a recap of the relevant part of my answer below:
My dad was the last of four kids by his mum, and while he was still a toddler, his rich and influential dad changed towards them all, refused to send the other kids to school and focused on his younger wife. So they all had to do odd jobs to even survive. My dad barely finished primary school as a result of this. His eldest sibling, also male, was way older than him, so he had finished his education before all this, and was working at the Seventh-Day Adventist Hospital in Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria. One day he heard that one of the missionaries needed someone to help around the house (here in Nigeria we call them houseboy or housegirl), and he went and got my dad to fill the position. By then my dad had already left the rich-boy attitude behind due to the hardship of surviving, so taking the post was no big deal. In fact, he had been at home for years, always learning a trade, not having enough money to graduate afterwards, and picking up another. He was a good carpenter, tire-repairer, plumber, and cement-mixer…lol. Anyway, it turned out that the missionary (Pastor Moon) could speak his native language of Yoruba even better than him, which meant communication was easy for him, as he barely grasped English from primary school. One day, my dad noticed a bottle of groundnuts/peanuts in the kitchen. Being his favorite snack, he thought nothing of grabbing the bottle and shaking out some. Unknown to him the Mrs. Moon had seen him. Later, she called him and asked if he took the nuts, and he simply told the truth. She was shocked. Apparently he was not the first househelp the Moons had had, and the previous ones had stolen from them. Months later, Pastor Moon calls my dad, and tells him that his wife is pregnant. The news did not sound out of place until the man tells my dad that they had been trying to conceive for a very very long time. He says he has a gift for my dad. He wanted my dad to go back to school. My dad refused. He was almost 21 by then, and the thought of sitting in school with kids did not sit well with him. The man coaxed my dad until he agreed, and he paid the school fees. Even when he had to travel back to the USA, he kept sending the money. If my dad had not gone to secondary school:
- he would never furthered his studies, or raised his mum and sisters out of the poverty they experienced.
- he would never have have met my mum. They met after university, during their compulsory national service in Nigeria.
- he would never have met his future employer (another helper), who sponsored my brother and I through secondary school, decades later, on a scholarship. The man had been my dad’s junior in that school.
- I would never have met my husband, as I would have gone to another school entirely. We first met in high school, and the shared memories and friends we have is what solidified our friendship and union.
In 2014, on Pastor Moon’s birthday, I got to call him and thank him so much for being the kind heart he is. He and his wife remembered my father and were deeply touched. He was happy to hear my dad was also living in the USA and requested that my dad call him up asap. He did.
Pastor Moon said something that day that struck me and made me cry: “Thank you for thanking me. No one else ever remembered to say thank you. God bless you.”
I am so happy I was able to connect my dad to the man who ensured he had an education.
I go out of my way to help anyone, daily. One never knows the impact of just a little assistance in another human’s life.